Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading. In this instalment, we’re covering Car Mechanic Simulator: Pocket Edition by developer/publisher Red Dot Games.
Car Mechanic Simulator: Pocket Edition 2: (The Explanation)
Car Mechanic Simulator: Pocket Edition 2, shorted to Car Mechanic Simulator 2, has arrived on the Nintendo Switch. You play as a garage owner working your way through junk you find in barns, fulfilling customer orders, bidding in auctions, and more as you earn money and grow your business.
The pocket edition features gameplay similar to that in the full PC and console versions of 2018 and 2021 games but in a small Switch version. Graphically the Switch version has lower textured areas and details when it comes to your garage, the race track, test path, and other areas you will visit in comparison to the other versions of the game. There is still a lot to do in Car Mechanic Simulator 2 with 40 cars and 1,000s of parts to repair, buy, and sell.
The main gameplay loop of Car Mechanic Simulator: Pocket Edition 2 is to fulfill customer orders and begin building up a wealth of money so you can expand your garage, buy old cars, and fix them up for huge profits. The bulk of your work is within your garage where you will need to put automobiles on a lift and examine and take apart piece by piece, bolt by bolt, engines, tires, shocks, and exterior and interior body parts.
Once you have removed pieces that need to be fixed, head over to your computer so you can order new parts and sell off the old ones. Finding parts is made easier by a shopping list that you can pull up, as well as a search feature where you can key in the exact part name you are looking for. Once you have all the parts you need you can begin putting them back in the car. Just make sure to top off the oil before finishing the job.
Car Mechanic Simulator is made infinitely more playable and easier to navigate with a mouse and keyboard on a PC, though I did not get to check to see if the Switch support is there. As you navigate around the car zooming in and out is done with ZL & ZR. You can focus on parts of the interior and exterior of the car by hovering over them with the reticle and selecting with A. Pressing B will back you out from the parts you are focused on. As you find parts that need to be removed and repaired or replaced, holding A will move that part to your inventory. If the part needs to be replaced you can make a note of it with + adding it to your shopping list.
Selecting and deselecting parts, moving in and out of inventory and the computer for shopping takes a lot of needless steps in tedium. While some people may enjoy the simple clicking/holding to remove or replace parts gameplay loop, there’s only so much of the core gameplay of Car Mechanic Simulator that is fun. I did enjoy the test driving you could do on the racetrack as well as the path test which added a bit of difference to the gameplay. Those parts are short though and only happen once when you select a new job.
If there are a few niggles I have with the game overall is one, the music selection is terrible and a bit too in-your-face for my liking. While you can change the station, it’s not varied enough, though I guess Car Mechanic Simulator could be a great game to play while listening to your own music, a podcast, or YouTube. The other main complaint I have is with the reticle and selecting certain pieces.
Since the game relies on left control stick movement for the reticle and right control stick camera movement, selecting small clips or bolts in some places can be especially trying for one’s patience. Lastly, the game has a visual downgrade from its console and PC counterparts, which is no surprise, the dirt and wear of the car parts for one look like someone bled to death under the hood or in the wheel wells of the cars you have to fix.
Overall, the gameplay of Car Mechanic Simulator 2: Pocket Edition won’t be for everyone. Though I enjoyed my hours with Car Mechanic Simulator and found myself going back to it repeatedly over the last week I still don’t think it’s a great game and will most likely find itself in the mediocre, barely able to recommend category. I have played a variety of simulator-style games that make a game out of some of the most mundane and repetitive tasks. It’s humorous in many ways that video games of real-world jobs, some being very repetitive in nature, have made their way to consoles and PCs. Almost anything in a simulator these days.
Car Mechanic Simulator: Pocket Edition 2: (The Gameplay)
Developer: Red Dot Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: Simulation, Racing, Lifestyle, Practical
No. of Players: 1 player
Release Date: April 15, 2022 (EU & NA)
File Size: 6.3 GB